FORMER Fighter of the Year and five-division world champion Nonito Donaire and 2012 U.S. Olympian and undefeated super lightweight contender Jose Ramirez will headline “Victory at The Venetian,” on the July 18 edition of Solo Boxeo Tecate, which will be televised from The Venetian Macao’s Cotai Arena via same-day delay in the U.S. on UniMás, beginning at 11:00 p.m. ET/PT. Donaire, of the Philippines, in the hunt for another world title shot, will be taking on France’s Anthony Settoul in a 10-round super-bantamweight battle. Ramírez, who hails from central California, will open the telecast in an eight-round super lightweight bout against Ryusei Yoshida, of Japan.
The undercard will feature undefeated No. 1 contender, Cesar Cuenca, who is just three victories away from tying Rocky Marciano’s hallowed 49-0 record, taking on undefeated No. 2 contender Ik Yang, who will attempt to become China’s second professional boxer to win a world title. Cuenca and Yang will rumble for the vacant International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior welterweight title. The live stream will also feature No. 1 world-rated lightweight contender Denis Shafikov, of Russia, and undefeated No. 4 world-rated junior bantamweight contender Rex Tso, from Hong Kong, in separate bouts.
Donaire (34-3, 22 KOs), a native of General Santos City, Philippines, now living in Las Vegas, is a former five-division world champion on the comeback trail for another world title shot. His banner year in 2012 featured four world championship victories which included beating former world champion Israel Vazquez, Jr. to capture the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) junior featherweight title, unifying the title by defeating IBF junior bantamweight champion Jeffrey Mathebula, followed by Donaire collecting his third belt of the year with a knockout of World Boxing Council (WBC) Diamond Belt super bantamweight champion Toshiaki Nishioka, ending Nishioka’s eight-year, 16-bout, winning streak, and concluding his magnificent year by blasting out Mexican icon Jorge Arce in the third round and sealing his 2012 Fighter of the Year honors while extending his 12-year, 30-bout winning streak. He lost his title to undefeated Cuban sensation and WBA super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux in a title unification bout at a sold-out Radio City Music Hall on April 13, 2013. He bounced back in 2014, dethroning World Boxing Association (WBA) featherweight world champion Simpiwe Vetyeka at Cotai Arena. Career highlights for Donaire also include knockout victories of world champions Vic Darchinyan, Wladimir Sidorenko, and Fernando Montiel, ending Montiel’s 25-bout winning streak. That victory was named the 2011 Knockout of the Year. Donaire returns to the ring fresh from capturing the vacant NABF super bantamweight title via a second round knockout victory of William Prado on March 28. He is currently world-rated No. 3 and No. 4 by the WBO and the WBA, respectively.
Settoul (20-3, 8 KOs), from Clermont-Ferrand, France, will be making his Asian ring debut on this card. A former French and European Union bantamweight champion, six of his last nine victories have come by way of knockout. He made his professional debut in 2008 and has fought outside of France just once.
Ramírez (14-0, 11 KOs), of Avenal, Calif., will be venturing outside the U.S. for the first time as a professional. Seven of his last eight fights have ended with knockout victories. A member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team, Ramirez was an 11-time National Amateur Champion. Trained by Freddie Roach, the highly-respected junior welterweight prospect returns to the ring looking to extend his current knockout streak to four bouts. His last fight was a fifth-round knockout victory of veteran Robert Frankel on May 9.
Yoshida (26-7, 13 KOs), from Kumamoto, Japan, makes his second visit to the Cotai Arena ring since 2013. He enters this fight having four of his last five bouts with three of those victories coming by way of knockout.Cuenca (46-0, 2 KOs), a southpaw who hails from Chaco, Argentina, made his pro debut in 2002. Fighting exclusively in Argentina, Cuenca has steadily risen up the world ratings the old fashioned way — by winning! Just three fights shy of matching Rocky Marciano’s mythical mark of 49-0, Cuenca has captured numerous regional titles throughout his 13-year career, all fought at the junior welterweight level. His 12-round unanimous decision victory over Albert Mensah last year, in an IBF junior welterweight title elimination bout, made Cuenca the No. 1 contender and mandatory challenger for the world title.
Yang (18-0, 13 KOs), from Dalian, China, is trained by Hall of Famer Freddie Roach, who also trains Fighter of the Decade Manny Pacquiao and two-time Chinese Olympic gold medalist Zou Shiming. Yang, who made his pro debut in 2007, enters this fight having won seven of his last eight fights by way of knockout. Having fought exclusively at Cotai Arena and in Shanghai since 2013, Yang has built up a loyal fan base in China due to his exciting style of fighting. With 2014 knockout victories over Sukkasem Kietyongyuth and Fahsai Sakkreerin for the World Boxing Organization (WBO) Asia Pacific lightweight title and the IBF Pan-Pacific junior welterweight title, respectively, and a sixth-round stoppage of Patomsuk Pathompothong, in an IBF junior welterweight world title elimination bout on March 7, Yang has seen his boxing stock, and his world ratings, soar. He is now the IBF No. 2 world-rated junior welterweight contender.
Shafikov (35-1-1, 18 KOs), a native of Chelyabinsk, Russia who fights out of Los Angeles, will be making his second appearance at Cotai Arena. The Russian southpaw unsuccessfully challenged Miguel Vazquez for his IBF lightweight world title on February 22, 2014, losing a competitive 12-round unanimous decision. He returned to the ring six months later and knocked out Rustam Nugaev in the ninth round of their IBF lightweight world title elimination bout last August, becoming the IBF’s No. 1 world-rated lightweight contender and mandatory challenger to then-champion Mickey Bey who has vacated the title. In his most recent bout, Shafikov won a lopsided unanimous decision over Miguel Mendoza in December. He’ll be facing one-time world title challenger Roy Mukhlis (18-3-2, 12 KOs), of Semarang, Indonesia, in a 10-round lightweight bout.
Tso (13-0, 7 KOs), the Pride of Hong Kong, has been a Cotai Arena mainstay since 2013 where fans on both sides of the South China Sea have flocked to watch his exciting fights and his ascent up the world ratings. Having already captured Asian and WBO Asia-Pacific junior bantamweight and WBC Asian super flyweight titles, Tso returns to the ring fresh from a 10-round unanimous decision Cotai Arena victory over Michael Enriquez on March 7, where he captured the vacant WBA International super flyweight title. Currently world-rated No. 4 by the WBO, No. 6 by the IBF and No. 8 by the WBA, Tso will be facing Khunkhiri Wor Wisaruth (21-10-1, 13 KOs), from Bangkok, Thailand, in an eight-round super flyweight bout.